Anti Spam Software – not yet a Perfected Science or Art

June forwarded an email to me. It was from Verisign saying her Web site domain name is about to expire. It was caught and quarantined by our network anti-spam software. Fortunately, our sharp eyed Network Manager, Mike Herron, spotted it and let it through manually. The email was html but fairly straightforward and certainly not spam, so out of interest, I asked why it had been stopped. Mike sent me the report . . .

Text Analysis Results

The phrase ‘$50’ was found at the location(s): 3.
The phrase ‘dollar?*’ matched ‘dollars’ at location 3.
The phrase ‘member?*’ matched ‘members’ at location 1,2.
The expression ‘(aol) near (microsoft)’ was matched.
The phrase ‘aol’ was found at the location(s): 2.
The phrase ‘microsoft’ was found at the location(s): 2.
The phrase ‘click on the link’ was found at the location(s): 1.
The phrase ‘congratulations’ was found at the location(s): 1.
The phrase ‘free’ was found at the location(s): 2,3.
The phrase ‘increase’ was found at the location(s): 1.
The phrase ‘membership’ was found at the location(s): 2.
The phrase ‘unlimited’ was found at the location(s): 2.

I gather the software counts up “points” against all incoming emails, and this one exceeded the ‘Dump it’ score! I pass this on to anyone writing informational emails to their customers, or even just emailing friends, come to that. If this had not been spotted and the email permanently consigned to the great Elcom Spam Dump, perhaps June’s domain name would have lapsed! Not a happy outcome. I shall certainly take note in the things I send out, and if you send email to customers or anyone come to that, you might like to think about it as well. Verisign please note!

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